Let’s talk Bears, shall we?

Of course we shall. :)

So, referring purely to the Blue post here without any clarifications or updates, let’s look at how what’s been announced may affect us. 

Ever since the announcements were made at Blizzcon about major changes to the stat system, I’ve been eager to hear how this will affect us.

The most interesting change they touched on during the Blizzcon, to me, was their intent to roll out the Bear style of being uncrittable to all other tanks. That has now been confirmed.

Defense changes

Defense will go away, and all tanking classes will have a particular mode that makes them uncrittable;  “Tanking classes should expect to become uncrittable versus creatures just by shifting into Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form, or by using Righteous Fury.”

How does that affect Bears?

First, we can claim to have lead the way to eventual enlightenment for the tanking masses.

We can also claim to be the bringers of joy to friends and sorrow to our enemies, but that doesn’t mean anyone will believe us.

Hopefully, what this really means is that we will cease having ignorant fools tell us we aren’t capable of tanking such-and-so in a random because “You’re not Defense capped”.

Worst case scenario, we’ll continue to be able to mock fools who say this, and other tanks will finally find out what hearing that feels like as their Defense stat goes away. After all, how do you respond to such blatant ignorance? To such a telling statement that proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the person uttering this idiocy is completely unschooled in the mechanics of your class, and yet still feels it is somehow their place to not only judge you, but to tell you “You’re doin’ it wrong” and then boot you from group.

Not that I’ve ever seen that in the game myself. Oh, nooooooooo. Not I. Nevah.

Recap; what are our important stats?

Armor, Stamina, Agility, Critical Strike Rating, Hit Rating and Expertise, with a healthy dose of Defense and Haste for flavor.

What will change?

We already addressed Defense going bye-bye. For our Necklaces, Rings and Trinkets we’ll need to watch to see what stats Defense gets converted into. This one item, out of everything in the post, is the one that worries me.

Example? Shard of Pirouetting Happiness. Decent item, no Agility, but the mix of Stamina, Defense Rating and Dodge Rating make it quite tasty. It is representative of how shared tanking items, rings and necklaces, are being itemized to date.

That Defense Rating will soon go away. What will replace it? A universal stat like Stamina or Dodge Rating? Both would be useful to all tanks. It would make sense.

If it’s Parry or Block, we have a net loss. And if it’s Block, so do Death Knights.

The direct quote from the post was “No more Defense on gear. Existing Defense becomes Dodge, Parry, or Block Rating.”

From what I can see, there is no mention whatsoever of giving Bears a Parry or Block. We can expect to continue to tank with our big furry faces. If it turns into Dodge Rating on items all tanks use and share, and Block and Parry for plate items, then excellent, except for the poor Death Knights.

Okay, I know, dead horse, I’ll let it go. I think I’ve made my point. But I hear that train a comin’, it’s coming round the bend, and I ain’t seen the sunrise, since I don’t know when…

Edit: I’ll leave what I originally said about Parry in quotes below, but please look at the comments to see how folks saw I represented mob Parry mechanics wrong, and the comments they made about it.

With Parry, there is a change to this that might affect us in a positive way.

From what I read in their phraseology, they are saying that Parrying an enemy blow will not speed up the next attack.

I interpret that to mean the enemy swing timer will not be reset upon a successful Parry, which results in faster enemy attacks.

What this would mean to me is, on enemies where you sometimes have two tanks side by side to spread Cleave style damage and divide it, if that other tank Parries, it should not mean increased attack speed on you. More steady, predictable incoming damage, fewer chain spikes. I’m just speculating, but it sounds good and is consistent with what their stated intent is. 

As far as Stamina is concerned, they’re also saying that non-tanks and non-plate wearers will be getting more Stamina in comparison to existing tanks. Our flock, whom we grimly shephard through the valley of ass whuppin’s, shall be less squishy in general. Yay!

On the flip side, Bears in particular will once again be seeing a reduction in our Stamina multiplier in Dire Bear form, to compensate for the increase and keep us more in balance with the Plate wearers.

Personally, I’d like to be higher in Health or Dodge than the other tank classes, enough to once again notice. Just to emphasize the difference between tanks, and to compensate a little more for the lack of Block and Parry.

Not a big deal, I just miss that one thing a Bear could claim as their niche, physical damage bosses. 

Armor is mentioned, and I hate to say it, but I expect we will see a multiplier reduction again.

We use Leather that gets affected by a multiplier. So far, they’ve reduced the multiplier several times to rein us in. Our gear has also been adjusted downward, and bonus armor on leather was reduced or removed entirely. If they move Leather up in armor value for Rogues, expect to see the multiplier go down again for us. If the plate wearers get their armor reduced to bring them down closer to the others… again, expect to see our multiplier reduced to keep us in line.

It doesn’t sound like any of the other stats are actually going to change in how we use them, but of course the spread on gear is going to play a big part on how things turn out.

Especially this new stat, Mastery
 
Mastery – This is a new stat that will allow players to become better at whatever makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique. It’s directly tied to talents, so what you gain from improving this stat is entirely dependent upon your class and the talent specialization you choose. We’ll talk more about specific Mastery benefits in the future.”
 
Can anyone tell me what the hell Mastery is going to make better about tanking? If I choose a tanking spec, and have Mastery points, does that mean my Armor multiplier works better? My Stamina goes up? I get shiftier, maybe?

Seriously now. How about this… if I’m a tank, I have hard, firm numbers on my Health, Dodge, Block, etc. I can directly control every one of those with stat proportions that are intended for tanks in the first place.

But I can’t directly increase Threat generated by my attacks without increasing my overall damage output.

How about, for tanks, making Mastery increase Threat Generation by a percentage, to all abilities? To scale it up without being tied so directly to DPS output?

That’s my hope. I can’t wait to see what they decide. 

For Hit Rating and Expertise, the post said they will be much harder to “cap out”. Bear tanks have never had to focus 100% on capping HR or Exp, but if it truly does get reduced a lot, then I foresee a time when raiding Bears will want to re-examine using a Glyph of Growl to increase the likelihood that Taunt will hit exactly when you MUST have it work.

They’re removing Weapon Skills from the game entirely. This won’t affect Bears in any way whatsoever, since Druids in form are always treated as having max weapon skill allowable for their level. As a player of a Paladin that hit 80 and then spent two hours grinding as soon as he got a new weapon using Argent Tournament tokens, before he could bloody well tank with it… and then did it again when he got yet another different style weapon from his first TOC run…THANK GOD.

Now, let’s quote that little section towards the end, their breakdown;

 If you are a melee DPS class, druid tank, or hunter, expect to see:
 
    * A lot more Stamina. Bear-form Stamina scaling will be lowered as a result.
    * Strength if you wear plate. Agility if you wear mail or leather.
    * Existing Attack Power becomes Agility and Stamina. Armor Penetration becomes Haste or Crit.

First, we already covered Stamina. We’ll be getting tweaked to stay where we are.

Strength if you wear Plate, Agility if you wear leather. Does this mean that Bear form will no longer get any AP/DPS benefit from the Strength stat?

Add that to the one that follows; Existing Attack Power is getting turned into Agility and Stamina.

Attack Power, which right now increases our DPS output only, will now give us both increased Crit, increased Dodge, and more Health.

That actually reinforces my belief that Mastery will be a Threat buff, and also makes me wonder if they are intending on making the Strength/Defense items I’ve been whining about useful for Plate wearers only, and having Bears go to the DPS Agi/Stam items only. Right now, Strength is not wasted, it increases our DPS and therefore our threat. When you factor that into the way Stamina on those items is significantly higher than on the DPS items, our choice has been unhappy, but clear.

Maybe that will change in the future. I’m still worried, because the Stamina really is that low on those other items.We’ll see. Long days yet to come, and I’m sure many will voice their concerns over a balanced distribution of stats for Bears as well as Cat/Rogues.

Last but not least – Reforging.

This is pretty crazy. I have one question that must be answered before we can make any real determination; when you reforge an item, is it permanent?

Adding what they said here with what they said in Blizzcon, the idea of Reforging is not to swap “core” stats one with the other, Like Agility and Stamina for Bears, but instead to let you adjust the “support” stats like Hit Rating, Haste, Expertise, Critical Strike Rating, etc.

There is a clear intention here to make a distinction between core stats and support stats. Once we know for sure what those are, and whether changes made to gear will be permanent, we will be able to make better Wild Ass Guesses.

Still, it’s clear this is about making sure you get the full benefit of what you loot. Have too much of one thing? You can swap it for, if not the FULL point value of something else, at least something useful, which is a damn sight better than nothing. I know that I’m over hit cap right now, but way under the expertise cap. I’d sure love to be able to make that swap… so long as I wouldn’t be permanently losing that, currently, superfluous hit rating. What if I get an upgrade later that puts me under the hit cap? What then?

I can’t wait to see Reforging, I expect it to be like Socketing different gems, and that’s going to be very useful.

Edit: as mentioned in the comments, Blue replies to their thread reference new items, Scrolls of Reforging, that will have a direct application such as Critical Strike => Hit Rating. Thinking aloud, I wonder if this might work similarly to Armor Kits, only useable on some item slots, and when applied, showing as similar to (but not conflicting with) Enchants. If so, then applying a new Scroll of Reforging would simply restore the original stats by wiping away the previous Scroll, and then apply the new Scroll to the baseline. Leaves the door open to limiting the Scrolls to only work on armor items (no weapons, shields, neck, ring or trinkets) if that’s what they choose. Again, time will tell.

All in all, we are getting off pretty darn light. I bet the other tanks are full of anxiety right now, and can you blame them?

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming… What do we do, we swim, swim…

37 Responses to “Cataclysm Stat Changes – Bear edition”
  1. Russ says:

    Excellent post, BBB. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on (and interpretations of) this content.

    I, too, am interested in seeing how everything will look, especially considering that about half of my bear gear (off-spec) is my kitty (main) gear. For instance, the way that the current Attack Power stat will, on the same piece, work differently (or similarly) from cat to bear form intrigues me.

    This stat change info is exciting. When it was announced at Blizzcon last year, I have to confess that I was unimpressed, but this gets beyond the generalities and whets the appetite. It will be great when Cataclysm drops and we can really dig into the strategizing, as we re-optimize our gear composition and take the adjustments for a test drive…. oh, and “claim to be bringers of joy to our friends and sorrow to our enemies!” :)
    .-= Russ´s last blog ..T10 4-piece bonus for kitties: in my (distant) future? =-.

  2. Minos says:

    I don’t think I’ve seen “You’re not defense capped, noob” since pre-Ulduar. I thought everyone had got the memo by now.

  3. Russ says:

    What I’ve seen more of is new lvl 80 bears asking how much defense rating they need, but I would agree – that crap seems to have died down a bit in my experience.
    .-= Russ´s last blog ..T10 4-piece bonus for kitties: in my (distant) future? =-.

  4. Deandre - Dalaran says:

    My biggest concern on reforging is if you can do it to other peoples gear. I’m an alchemist, is that going to mean I’m SoL if they decide to have reforging carry a portion of the screwy itemization stuff… Does that mean I’ll be stuck with Str on the shared tank gear, or can I bug a JC to switch that to tasty tasty stam or agil? Only time will tell.

  5. Baerli says:

    Good post, we’ll see what it brings. However, I think you have a misconception on parry (but maybe it’s me). To my knowledge the boss’s (or mobs) swing timer resets when he parries, not when his attack gets parried. So, to stop the boss from parrying you need the expertise hard cap. The parry from the other tank doesn’t affect the bosses swing timer (his expertise does).

  6. Saniel says:

    Mastery is going to be interesting and…well…potentially sad for Ferals. I don’t wanna spill the beans here, though. It’s my post for tomorrow (and it’s already written).

    That said, here’s WoW.com’s preview of Mastery from BlizzCon: http://www.wow.com/2009/08/22/blizzcon-2009-mastery-system-and-talent-trees/
    .-= Saniel´s last blog ..Cata Stats & Ferals =-.

  7. lissanna says:

    We really have no idea what mastery bonuses will look like, and the bonuses for everyone will probably change 10 times between the start of testing and when it goes live…
    .-= lissanna´s last blog ..Eclipse Basics & Rotations for Beginner Moonkin =-.

  8. Kelwind says:

    I saw a blue on one of the forum threads mention ‘scrolls’ of reforging – so not only will it be something you can hire another player to do for you, it’ll be something you can buy in the AH. Yay, I hope. The bewildering array of StatX to StatY on armor type Z scrolls could be pretty crazy, though.

  9. Surehoof says:

    Honestly… I don’t see why they can’t let Bears parry.

    We have thick, furry skin and heavily muscled arms. What’s stopping us from rearing up and deflecting that attack with our padded paws? I’ll tell you what: A bit of code and a new “parry” animation for bears.

    “But Surehoof!” you say, “Even if you block that attack with your big, burly, muscled arm, it’ll still hurt your arm!”

    Haha, my friend! You are 100% correct. But now parried attacks do 50% damage over 2 attacks, instead of 0% on the current attack! The unavoidable arm-damage is accounted for. Realism advocates need not fear.
    .-= Surehoof´s last blog ..ICC Recruitment =-.

  10. Chromechild says:

    If what you hope about mastery for tanks is true, what does that mean for us who are hybrids? 2gear sets, 1 talent tree. Cause right now I’m loving to be able to function as all 3roles,

  11. Spinks says:

    I’ll be amazed if the feral mastery isn’t a dps buff (that way it can be threat for bears and dps for cats).
    .-= Spinks´s last blog ..[LOTRO] When I’m 65 (and eyeing up the endgame) =-.

  12. Dave says:

    The person who parries is the one who gets a sped-up attack. Parrying a boss increases your swing timer, not his. However, your statement is still correct in that if a boss parries YOU, then HE won’t get sped up attacks either.
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..Show #382: Some People Gotta Make A Sex Robot. =-.

  13. Daxlim says:

    I hoped you’d have an idea what would happen to Savage Defense. I have either missed the plans while wading through all the changes, or nothing has been mentioned yet. Parry and Block get a major overhaul. I’m just assuming Savage Defense will get a block like treatment, still would like to see something about it from a blue post.

  14. Eberron of Ravenholdt says:

    “Personally, I’d like to be higher in Health or Dodge than the other tank classes, enough to once again notice.”

    I just wanted to grab this out of the pack and comment on an observation I made: I grabbed one of the gear score sites, Wow-heroes I think, and checked the highest GS warrior tank in the world. Unbuffed he has a smidgen more hit points then me as a primarily 10man/badge geared bear.

    This guy’s in solid ICC 25 man / ToGC 25 Tribute to Insanity / ICC 10m hard mode gear. You don’t find better geared warriors. Really, there weren’t any at that time in the *entire world!*

    Given that bears scale better then warriors off of raid buffs like Blessing of Kings and Fort, that means that if we were to stand side by side fully 25 man raid buffed… I’d be comparable for hit points.

    When you have bears that do ToC 25 pugs, ICC 10m pugs (go go Saurfang again *groan*) and heroics that can stand even near the same level of hit points as the *best geared warrior tank in the world!*

    …. Yeah, the hit point difference still means something. You notice, and so does everyone who groups with me. Now I’m flat out bragging a bit, but zoning in to a 5 man with my full tanking spec (as opposed to my DPS ring/trinks) and having the healer realize I have 60k+ HP to which everyone slackjaws. So much fun. :3

  15. Nathanyel says:

    For Reforging, it’s not “no core stats” per se, the example just happened to include Stamina, which can’t be converted, but Agility and probably all other base stats* can, plus the “green stats” of course.

    * including Spirit, since it means Hit for druids/shamans

  16. Nathanyel says:

    Oh, and for Mastery, I even expect different effects for each Cat and Bear Form. Say, Mastery grants +Dmg, +Haste, +Hit/Crit in Cat Form, and -Dmg taken (or +Threat, yes), +Armor/Sta, +Dodge in Bear Form, unrelated from your definite spec or gear – of course the amounts of points spent in the Feral tree are said to increase Mastery gain (btw, I expect the Feral stuff at the trunk of Resto getting moved anyway) while gear can also have different amounts of Mastery, so that would of course affect the specific amounts of gains, but what the gains increase depends just on your current form.

  17. Meringue says:

    I believe there was an older blue post saying cats would still get AP from agi and bears would still get AP from str so that “tank” accessories would still work with all classes. Expect the AP on your leather to turn into agi and any def on accessories to turn into tanky things. I think the stated goal for punchy necks and rings was that AP would remain AP so that any type of physical dps could use it. At worst, if the defense turns into parry/block we can reforge it into something else.

  18. Momome says:

    Excellent post as always BBB.

    One thing to point out though – you mention ‘For Hit Rating and Expertise, the post said they will be much harder to “cap out”.’, but I think you’re misunderstanding the blue post there.

    To quote the blue, ‘All ratings will be much harder to “cap out” at maximum gear levels’, which I think referrs mainly to people these days being haste and/or crit capped, especially in high-end ICC gear.

    I admit that confuses me a bit, because not being hit or expertise capped contributes directly to the value of the crit cap, but I’m fairly sure that it just means there will be greater DR on haste and crit, or gear scaling will be address better.

    Thanks again B, keep up the good work :)

  19. Sah says:

    I don’t think you have to worry about the stamina part if bears have to go for dps-jewelry since he’s talking quite some about how dps are going to get a lot more stamina on their gear.

  20. Zenash says:

    My guess for Mastery. If they decide to keep one mastery for the entire feral tree we have to consider that the same stats have to be usefull for both specs in that tree. Meaning that all 3 tree bonus stats have to be usefull for both bear and cat. So my guess would be no health, threat or other pure tanking stats.

    These are all possible tree bonus stats:
    Melee damage increase, Hit rating, Crit rating, Haste rating (Threat for bears and with new Energy regen improvement for Cat good dps boost for them), Agility (This would be an awesome choice for Mastery stat)

  21. Nathanyel says:

    Oh and another thing: In ICC, they applied CotT explicitly to dampen avoidance, yet in Cata, they’re buffing it again, slash making it more important again? Sounds weird to apply a debuff that hits bears the most (I don’t think most plate tanks even had over 20% dodge) and then buff that value again, especially if we really get to wear Agi non-armor instead of the Str ones with only occasional dodge, our dodge chance will rocket. If I was paranoid, I’d compare this to the start/levelling phase of BC and WotLK, when bears were the preferred instance tank, only to be nerfed after the raiding phase kicked in fully.

  22. Corwyn says:

    “But now parried attacks do 50% damage over 2 attacks, instead of 0% on the current attack! The unavoidable arm-damage is accounted for. Realism advocates need not fear.”

    Realism advocates are still trying to figure out how parrying a swing results in 50% on that swing, and 50% on the next. What?!

    I really wish when Blizzard changed how things work they would rename too. “Aimed shot” is quicker than “Steady Shot”? And reduces healing?

    Blizzare.

  23. Jen says:

    >>Does this mean that Bear form will no longer get any AP/DPS benefit from the Strength stat?< AP for Cataclysmic bears….

  24. Jen says:

    Oops — my comment somehow went horribly awry. I was wondering if it had been explicitly stated anywhere that bear form would get attack power from Agility, seeing as it currently does not.

  25. Menglor says:

    My question becomes, will Cats be able to tank better because bears are going to depend on agility as well?

    Right now I stack AGI and ArmP, in the new system It sounds like I will be better off for tanking.

    and I wonder how Haste will affect Rage?

    I understand I will need to hunt out neck, fingers and trinkets for tanking, but sing STR isnt a Druid stat, will there be Druid tanking rings with AGI?

    its all confusing.

    what about Feral AP? that gone? I never heard any mention of it

  26. Nathanyel says:

    Feral AP will live on, as it’s not true AP in the meaning of a stat on the weapon itself, but rather a virtual one calculated from the weapon’s DPS, which in turn actually isn’t on the weapon directly, but a function of (mindmg+maxdmg)/2/speed, too, calculated, rounded and displayed by the client.

  27. Phelps says:

    >Does this mean that Bear form will no longer get any AP/DPS benefit from the Strength stat?<

    Yes, because there won't be any strength on leather. None. It will all be converted to agility.
    .-= Phelps´s last blog ..Wave of violence by political extremists =-.

  28. bigbearbutt says:

    @ Phelps – We use more than just leather gear. As I said in the post.

  29. bigbearbutt says:

    Jen – no, despite what folks are saying, it has not yet been stated clearly using the exact wording that Bears will get zero benefit from Str.

    It is assumed, from what has been said, that logically it would follow that with the AGI changes Bears will get zero benefit from Str. But it has not been directly stated that from now on, Str = 0 AP.

    We can figure it’s true, but we don’t KNOW.

    Assumptions. Gotta watch them buggers like a hawk. They might be true… and then again, there might be exceptions.

  30. Nathanyel says:

    Str = 0 AP would be silly, rogues, recently shamans and even hunters get 1 Melee AP per Str. I’m kinda expecting that druids will get a baseline 1 AP per point of Agi or Str, and Cat will continue to add 1 AP per Agi, and Bear 1 AP per Str in the same vein.

  31. Nathanyel says:

    correction: scratch the part about Agi, 2 AP per Agi needs to be baseline, else bears would lose AP anyway *rolleyes*

  32. scaresome says:

    It’s confusing but/yet totally fun to talk and think about.
    I think the Mastery buff will be from wearing all armor of a specific type (hunters all in mail).
    The hit cap seems to be scaling with the boss you fight. So, say 265 might be a cap for a lvl 83 boss; but we’ll have bosses higher than that soon — I’d even venture that the final bosses when we are all lvl 85 to have different lvls of boss (87 — 89?).
    Re-forging via enchants or inscription is brilliant; a nice way to experiment with our new toon stats.

    I very much believe that by reducing the amount of theory-crafting needed to play well that we will have more fun in the game. No more “noob def cap” comments or MM hunter needs all ArPen to be a good player. Now we can focus on skills and hopefully a nice array of cool things to do in a fight (like freezing trap arrows, which are pretty neat-o).

    The ideas like not needing weapon skill support the above paragraph. Players with a tool box of attacks and defenses and CC’s is what the game should be about; not about fine tuning an end game character wanting 10 more agility just to be perfect. I will be happier when I can focus on playing my toon more than building my toon.

  33. Savvy-Savvage says:

    Probably not any reason to give us AP from agility in bear form. Leave it the same. I think we get most of our attack power from our weapon and that model will hold. In fact, it sounds like spell casters also will be trending more towards ferals in that their spell power will only explicity exist on their weapon. Basically, I think they have been experimenting on ferals and are happy with those experiments and now everyone else is gonna get a taste of a feral style stat system. The specific stats might be different but the complexity/simplicity of the balancing act between them should follow. Should know for sure if a pure tanking stat starts showing up only on shields? Oh wait, block.

  34. Ashendar of Bloodscalp says:

    I would not be surprised to see the new Mastery stat be linked with Savage Defense to increase the amount of damage reduction provided by the talent.

  35. Menglor says:

    “Str = 0 AP would be silly, rogues, recently shamans and even hunters get 1 Melee AP per Str. I’m kinda expecting that druids will get a baseline 1 AP per point of Agi or Str, and Cat will continue to add 1 AP per Agi, and Bear 1 AP per Str in the same vein.”

    STR= 0 AP is easy to conceive, since there saying all leather will no STR, rings and necks will have them but I am confused to see how they make bears get tanking out of leather gear.

  36. thebitterfig says:

    don’t worry about the stamina scaling changes. the general feeling of cata is that everyone is going to have a lot more base stamina, 10-15% more stamina for everyone not in plate at least. if the bear multiplier remained the same with 15% more stamina on all leather out there, that’d be A LOT more hp that bears would add to the lead they already have in comparable gear. i think the intent is to have druids have as much of a lead in armor and HP as they currently have, and it is no doubt a knob blizzard could turn if they feel bear survival is too weak.

    as to AP, i read somewhere that druids would be getting full AP from both Strength and Agility, and that they weren’t really worried about double-dipping as there is no strength on leather, and the only strength gear a bear is likely to have is from tanking necks/capes/rings. now, “having read somewhere” isn’t a very trustworthy source, but still…

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